Categories > Anime/Manga > Bleach > Eventide0 Reviews
Part 3 of 4. Follows Dawning and Meridian. Byakuya x Renji.
Things had been going so well lately, Renji mused, staring out the window and tying his hair up. Deep inside, he really was thankful that Byakuya had saved him from himself and his misguided notions that they couldn't in all reality be together. It had been nice to not worry about what was going to happen next.
This was a new chapter in his life. He was going to plunge forward and not worry so much about the consequences. Maybe, just maybe, he really was due some of the niceties life had to offer, at least to hear Byakuya talk about his fears.
Turning back into the dimly lit room, a smile crossed his features as he gazed at the peacefully sleeping shinigami still lying there.
He looked so much more relaxed when he slept, face losing all the tense stiffness of the day. This was Renji's favorite way to spend the morning, watching the beautiful man still lost in dreams.
Tonight was the night, the night they would be physically separated for the first time in all their time together.
He really did need to go and pack his bags, having put that chore off to the last minute, hoping to spend every available second left to them with Byakuya.
They had settled into such a nice rhythm over time, a comforting pattern really. Renji usually rose first, wriggling his way out of Bya-kun's arms and going out to the garden to practice. He'd always been an early riser, needing to be in motion almost constantly. That was one of the many things they'd worked on together, calming him down and helping him to enjoy the quiet moments he'd missed before.
After his workout, he'd take a quick bath and dress before heading to the kitchens and bringing back a tray. If he wasn't careful the food would always end up cold while he was busy watching his lover rest. It was hard not to get lost in admiring the form curled so snugly beneath the thin sheets.
Shaking his head to clear it, he sat on the edge of the bed, leaning close to whisper in the nearest pale ear, "Time to wake up, it's a busy day and we've got lots to do."
The dark haired man grumbled sleepily, turning to press his face deeper in the mass of pillows at the head of the ornate bed.
Sighing, Renji smiled, secretly loving the game they played each morning, wondering how long it would take to finally rouse the man. He often wondered how Byakuya had ever woken on time before he'd been there to help him, but then decided that maybe it was the lack of rest after they had gotten together that had turned him into such a sleepyhead.
Remembering their last night together, he felt the blood rush to his groin, heating slowly, body simmering at the memories they'd made. He'd treasured what would be their last time in each other's arms for what would probably be a few months at the least. They didn't know how often days off would come and how far between they would have to wait.
Byakuya had been even more aggressive than normal, seemingly trying to impress his body upon Renji's, staying as close as possible, not wanting to move apart even to sleep. They'd slept curled together, legs entangled, arms surrounding and holding tightly until morning, when Renji had forced himself not to break with the routine and had crawled from the warm haven when the first streaks of dawn began lightening the night darkened room.
Shivering, closing his eyes, he could almost still feel Byakuyas body pressed against his, moving inside him, in the long established rhythm that was uniquely their own. The older man had had tears in his eyes as they came, together, the droplets making silent trails down the pale cheeks. Holding and comforting him, Renji had murmured reassurances that he'd be safe, promising to return as soon as he was able.
Surely, they both agreed, the new creations of that madman Aizen couldn't defeat them. The two were optimistically hoping for a quick victory and a swift end to their separation, though both knew it would take at least a few months to clear up the mess.
Running his hand through the silky, ebony locks, now flung in disarray over their bed, he bent forward once again, pressing his lips to his captain's warm, slightly opened mouth. Tongue slipping inside, he stroked the man, licking and tasting, hoping to imbed the unique flavor deeply enough in his memory he would still be able to taste it through the lonely nights to come.
The soft moan alerted him that his lover was awakening, the arm circling his waist witness to that fact.
Breaking away, he tried once more to persuade his captain out of bed.
"Bya-kun, we've got to get ready now. You don't want to be late for work do you?" he murmured, coaxing the man to awareness of his duties.
"Nnh," was the only reply as the pale body rolled to its back, eyes slowly opening as sleep finally, completely receded.
"I really don't think the Gotei Thirteen will fall apart if I am late to work this morning," he stated, eyes beginning to gleam in that familiar, lascivious way.
"Bu-but," Renji stuttered, "there is so much to be done before tonight. Everything must be in order and preparations made by the appointed time. It can't be put off."
Sadness dulled the eyes of his lover at the reminder of Renji's impending departure.
"Don't be sad, Byakuya, and don't worry. You know I'll be back, the fates can't hold me from you," he reassured the older man once more, smiling slightly as a slender hand cupped the back of his head, forcing him down for another kiss.
Fingers feathering lightly down his back, pressing him closer, he straddled the man below him, drawing a moan from both as their bodies touched. Undoing his ties, he let the robe slide off his shoulders, Byakuya[']s palms forcing it further as he traced Renji's spine. He felt the caressing hand dip teasingly into his cleft, fingers dancing lightly over his tight entrance before moaning and giving himself over to the need that was building, all thoughts of duty forgotten as he felt one slender finger press inwards.
It was time. Buried in the depths of his heart, the black thought that this could be the last time he saw Renji alive sat, it's tentacles spreading outward, trying to push aside the hope that his mind forced to reside there. It surely wouldn't be. Renji was a more than capable shinigami, his powers having increased tenfold since the ryoka incident when they had fought one another. Reflecting on that time sent guilt that he could not forget streaking through him.
They had dealt with the past, forgiving one another and moving forward, refusing to allow it a place in their day to day lives. But occasionally, rarely now, it still managed to reassert its toehold on Byakuya's conscience, making him regret once more that he hadn't taken the time to notice his vice captain sooner.
Fate had certainly played a major part in their recognition. If it had happened any earlier, there was the possibility events would not have unfolded as they had, which would have been disastrous.
Drawing himself back to the present, a longing smile crossed his features as he watched Renji put the last of his belongings into the bag that would go with him. Each shinigami commissioned to leave had been outfitted with human clothes and given a small handbook to study of human mannerisms and current slang, to help them fit in as much as possible.
The clothes really did suit him. The crimson haired beauty was currently wearing a pair of loose jeans, the material a bit rough like the man who wore them, and a fuzzy green sweater, which played off his hair nicely. Renji had even argued with the twelfth division until they'd acquired a purple and white bandanna he could use to tie his hair back. It really was a very sexy style on him.
As the bag zipped, he knew it was time for their final goodbyes this day. Walking forward he tangled his fingers roughly in the afore mentioned red strands, dragging Renji to him and harshly mashing their lips together. He wanted to bruise the younger man, aiming to leave a rembrance on his lips, something for him to see and know who loved him, who was waiting for him.
Tongues dueling, fighting for dominance, finally they broke apart, dragging in gulping breaths of air, the need to breathe forcing them to stop.
Propping his forehead against Renji's, he sighed.
"I love you, more than you'll ever know."
The younger man's eyes closing, he saw the dampness beading where the tanned eyelids met.
"I know taichou. I know and I hope you do too."
They stayed like that, breathing quietly, holding one another for several minutes, trying to delay the inevitable.
"I love you Byakuya. Wait for me, I will return safely."
Lips pressing together once more, they drew apart, tanned hand holding paler one as they walked to the meeting point.
Byakuya had wanted to deny the request for Renji to join the group that was to head to the human world. But as soon as the younger shinigami had found out, he'd refused, saying that it wasn't right for Byakuya to use his influence when his help was requested. Tears misting his vision, he'd signed the paper, cursing himself for ever showing the missive to Renji, while in his mind knowing it was the right thing to do.
Hands still clasped, his glare dared any of the other shinigami present to comment. He would not let go of his lover until duty demanded it.
They had been the last to arrive, aside from Matsumoto who was currently dragging her overly stuffed bag to meet the group.
Stopping, they saw the others start to line up, portal at the ready as soon as Rangiku and her luggage were with them.
Leaning forward, he pressed a soft kiss to Renji's forehead, hoping to mark the man as his and to force his safe return. One last squeeze of hand on hand and he watched as Renji took his place in line, bag slung casually over his shoulder. Eyes met and held as the portal opened, the line beginning to slowly file forward until it was Renji's turn.
Byakuya watched as he paused, hand giving a slight wave, before stepping through and disappearing from sight.
Turning, he walked, slowly making his way back to the eleventh division office, taking a slight detour through their favorite spot in the Kuchiki garden. Slumping under their favorite tree, he gave free reign to his grief, allowing it to spill freely forth, unable to stop.
Walking through the portal, he immediately arrived in the human realm, hesitating a second to get his bearings.
He was supposed to stay with the orange haired ryoka while he was there. He had snuck over a week earlier, hoping to familiarize himself with the area and where he needed to be. It had worked fairly well and when the small group disbanded he made his way to Ichigo's house with ease.
His shoulders drooped, remembering the sadness, love, and hope all covering Byakuya's features as he'd stepped through. He missed the noble captain already. Tomorrow morning would be hard, it being the first he'd pass without his ritual and his lover.
His lips turned down as thoughts of waking up near Ichigo ran through his mind. Ugh. He held nothing against the kid, but was really not looking forward to sharing a room with him. It had been better than the alternative though, bunking with many others at Urahara's shop. At least this way he only had one person invading his space.
Walking on, memories of the night just past flooded through his brain once more. Byakuya's mouth surrounding him in wet heat, milking him, fingers pumping into his body, stretching him endlessly, tips brushing that one spot repeatedly until he'd been a moaning puddle beneath the older man; it made his insides liquefy just to remember.
Hearing his name called, he turned frowning when he saw Kurosaki waving a hand in his direction and yelling for him to hurry up. The young shinigami looked the same as he always did, scowl firmly etched in place, volatile emotions barely hidden beneath his cool, uncaring demeanor.
Ichigo was always so passionate about everything he did. If it was worth doing, then it was worth doing whole heartedly, should have been his motto. Definitely no half measures from him.
Sighing, he decided it was time to stop dwelling on the inevitable and just go.
Turning resignedly he trudged along, steps slowing instead of quickening.
And it begins.
It had been four months. Four long, lonely months since he'd last laid eyes on Renji. Four months of heart aching with loss and mind fraught with worry. Correspondence between the two realms had been sparse at best, eventually dwindling down to nothingness.
What he would not give to look into those eyes once more, to feel those limbs wrapped around him as he moved inside that warm, welcoming body. It was not only the physical though. He missed their shared closeness, their morning habits, their heart to heart talks on the dreary cold days when both were off work.
Staring out the window wondering if his lover was safe, he sighed, trying to force his attention back to the mounds of paperwork cluttering his once neat, tidy desk.
Worrying would not help anything. He just had to believe, Byakuya told himself over and over, hoping that if he repeated it enough, it would be true.
Signing yet another document, he immersed himself in the forms of Soul Society not bothering to stop until dusk had fallen.
He was walking home by the fourth division's office when he overheard the distress call sent from the human world.
"We need medical help immediately. There are eight shinigami down and Abarai Fukitaichou is trying to hold the hollows back while Hitsugaya Taichou moves the others to safety. He won't be able to hold them for long. Please send aid immediately!"
Byakuya stopped in his tracks, breath frozen in his lungs as he waited for the report to continue. He forced himself to hear out the rest of the situation before racing to Renji's aid.
"He's no-" the voice was buried by the sounds of battle,"ake it. Help no-" the connection was severed, sending several fourth division medics into action.
There was no choice to be made, he turned and headed back to his office. Ever since the ryoka incident, the captain's soul slayers were allowed to be locked away in their private office. Reaching his, he threw open the door, mentally undoing the binding spells hiding away Senbonzakura.
Reaching in, he grabbed the handle before racing outside to open a portal. Seeing the surprised looks on the faces surrounding him, he ignored them, stepping through and landing immediately in the human realm.
Knowing Renji's reiatsu so well, it didn't take him long to locate him. Moving swiftly he arrived only to feel his heart drop at the scene playing out before him.
A group of hollows had attacked, in unison, making a ruin of the once nice area and obliterating much in their carnage.
Seeing his lover bleeding profusely on the ground, he didn't hesitate, striking out with all the force he was capable of. Blocking as many of the blows as he could, he grabbed Renji and moved swiftly, dragging him to the edge of the playground turned battlefield.
Laying him gently on the soft grass he returned to the fray, fighting with all his might to protect the one he loved.
Catching movement out of the corner of his eye, he saw one of the smaller hollows advance, creeping toward where Renji was centering all of his power for a final attack and unable to break that concentration to fight the hollow in his weakened state. Claws raised, the monster sped forward, arm descending. Using all the speed his shunypo could muster, he flung himself between them, soul slayer stabbing forward, not having enough time to block. Feeling the massive nails rake across his throat and chest, he fell to his knees, blood fountaining from his body to form a small pool around them. He faintly heard the hollow fall behind him, then saw the horror register on Renji's face as Byakuya crumpled forward, landing hard on the dirt. Gentle hands struggled faintly then rolled him over.
He tried to speak, forcing the words out in a wet whisper of blood.
"I couldn't let him have you Renji."
Turning his head as much as he was able, he saw the rest of the monsters lining up for a group attack. Looking back at Renji he memorized his features, never wanting to forget a single memory of their time together.
"There's only one thing to do now. It worked for Rukia. Get Senbonzakura,' he pushed out with another slippery gurgle.
The horror on Renji's face was instant.
"Now Renji. We don't have much time."
Hitsugaya would be back soon, having left with the last of the injured mere seconds ago, installing them at former Captain Urahara's shop. If they could just hold out until then.
"I'll retain enough to survive, please Renji, hurry."
Forcing his body to move, he rescued the soul slayer from where it had fallen. Crawling back to Byakuya, he hesitated, scared by the look on his lover's face. The shinigami looked as if he was hiding something, keeping something important from him, something that caused tears to pool in his strangely accepting eyes.
"No, Byakuya. No. Don't do this."
"All will be well Renji. There's no time to waste, they are readying to attack."
Struggling to reach out, the older death god grasped the hilt weakly in his hand, face focused as lines of strain formed around the beautiful eyes and mouth.
"Place it over your heart and don't argue. I don't have the strength to hold Senbonzakura much longer."
Doing as he was told, tears falling unchecked down his cheeks, he jerked as the blade press sharply through his body.
Feeling the enormous spirit power surging through him, he looked at his lover's fading face with horror, realization dawning.
"I love you Renji," the barely moving lips weakly whispered as lids closed over vacant looking eyes.
"No! Please no," tumbled across his lips as he pulled the unmoving body to him with renewed strength, cradling the limp head softly in his lap.
How could he do this? Why did he do this? He can't leave me now, please don't let him leave me now.
A howl behind him interrupting his thoughts, he turned, eyes widening as he saw the entire group of hollows moving forward to attack at once.
Pressing a soft kiss to the cooling forehead, he laid the head on the ground.
"I will always love you Byakuya."
Standing quickly, he turned, casting one last lingering glance at his lost lover before charging forward, Zabimaru raised to strike swiftly.
They had won, but barely.
If you could call it a win.
Bitterness rushed through him, souring all his thoughts. It had been a solemn occasion when they'd returned to Soul Society, everyone trying to help by pointing out that at least they had won.
It sure didn't feel like much of a victory with Byakuya comatose in the fourth division, unresponsive to every treatment they'd tried so far.
He sat with his lover daily, stroking his hair, holding his hand, whispering to him memories of their time together, doing anything he could think of to help pull the noble death god back from wherever he was lost to.
Nothing seemed to be helping. Every day he watched as the once strong body faded before their eyes.
Head falling down to rest on the shallowly breathing chest, Renji cried. Tears of frustration and despair coursing down his cheeks in waves, bathing the figure below him with a salt water caress. Sobbing loudly now, unable to stop himself, he let it all break free. All the broken promises, ended dreams, all the hurt and anger at being unable to save his soul mate, at watching that same figure fade to save him.
Howling with grief, he crawled onto the bed, pressing his body against the cooler one, desperately wishing he could feel that hand stroking him, see those eyes watching him, hear that proper voice whisper sweet words just one more time.
If there was any way to reverse their positions, it would have required no thought, he would have done it happily.
Burying his face in Byakuya's neck, he breathed deeply, hoping to capture the scent of his lover and barely finding it. He was now covered in the smell of the hospital, cleaners and medicines, blood and death.
Shivering, he began to pull away, pausing when he felt warm lips lightly brush the top of his head.
Holding his breath, he waited, wondering if he'd imagined it, afraid to hope it was real.
The voice whispered over him like a soothing caress, anchoring his chaotic emotions of only moments before, filling him with light.
Raising slightly, he looked down into the slack, dull eyes watching him.
Smile spreading across his features, he swooped down, taking the much missed lips in a soft, lingering kiss.
"Welcome back Taichou," he whispered.
A/N: I hope ya'll like this. While writing this I decided to add a fourth epilogue-ish part. Let me know what you guys think!